Photo taken on Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, September 15, 2008
URGENT: Support Needed for Indigenous Political Prisoner John Graham
September 8, 2008
Coast Salish Territories, Vancouver
Dear friends and allies:
We are writing to ask for your financial support to help defend John Graham. As most of you know, John Graham is a political prisoner who is Southern Tutchone from the Yukon Territory. He is currently imprisoned in Rapid City, South Dakota (Background Information Below). John’s trial date is set for October 2008 and his family and close supporters are planning to travel to South Dakota in order to support John during this time.
There are, of course, costs associated with this trip. Hence, in this letter, we are making a special financial appeal to support John’s family and friends to travel and stay in South Dakota for up to one month during his trial.
* We are aiming for 50 people/organizations to donate at least $20 each by the end of September *
The isolation that political prisoners such as John Graham experience behind bars is part of the state’s repressive strategies. John’s current legal struggle also reflects the political repression faced by Indigenous people who struggle against state and corporate control. It is therefore imperative to offer our tangible and practical support to facilitate supporters to be present in South Dakota as part of this campaign for justice for John Graham.
If you can donate, please be in touch as soon as possible! (by the end of September at the latest)
1) Direct deposit: CIBC Branch account # 86-64536 transit # 04700
2) Send a cheque made out to Naneek Graham and mail it to:
1424 Commercial Dr.
P.O. Box 21640
3) To make arrangements for someone to pick up your donation, please contact: Naneek Graham @ 778-386-0354 (message) or Chusia Graham @ 604-418-0279 or Harsha @ 778 885 0040 or harsha(at)resist.ca or Ange at 778-317-3830 or noxmadima(at)yahoo.com.
Again, your financial contribution is a very important and tangible way to support this campaign and is deeply appreciated. For more information, please contact Chusia or Naneek Graham.
With solidarity and thanks,
Naneek & Chusia Graham
John Graham is a Southern Tutchone from the Yukon Territory. He is currently imprisoned at the Pennington County Jail in Rapid City, South Dakota, and his trial date has been set for October 2008. John Graham was arrested in Vancouver in December 2003, and after a prolonged legal battle including leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, he was extradited to South Dakota in December 2007. The allegations against John are of murdering fellow AIM member and Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Anna Mae Pictou in 1975. John Graham denies he killed Anna Mae.
In the mid-1970s, AIM was carrying out armed stand-offs in defence of the land including the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. As a result, AIM was one of the primary targets of the COINTELPRO counter-intelligence program aimed to weaken, confuse, and arouse suspicion amongst AIM members. At different times, Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, Leonard Peltier and John Graham all said they were offered their freedom if they collaborated with the FBI against other AIM members; they all refused. On the killing of Anna Mae, former FBI regional director Norm Zagrossi has himself stated it ‘looked like a cover-up’ . Ellen Klaver, a journalist in Colorado who has followed the story for three decades, has observed that, ‘Whoever was involved, the FBI was the architect.’ Both the B.C. Supreme Court extradition judge and the B.C. appeal court ruled there were deficiencies in the record of the case given to the courts by U.S. officials.
However the 1999 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Canada lowers the burden of proof to include hearsay evidence, which would not be admitted in a Canadian criminal court. Graham and his lawyers have stated they would welcome a trial in Canada, where the fake evidence could be exposed. A key witness, Arlo-Looking Cloud, recanted his testimony stating that he was coerced and under the influence of alcohol. Another prosecution witness Kamook Banks admitted she was paid $43,000 to cooperate with the FBI.
Graham has received support from a wide range of organizations including the Canadian Labour Congress, Native Youth Movement, Chief Capilano of the Squamish Nation, BC Teachers for Peace and Global Education, BC Hospital Employees Union, Stopwar.ca, Council of Yukon First Nations, BC Federation of Labour. Amnesty International has also stated their concern about the lack of a fair trial, given the clear parallels to Leonard Peltier. Peltier was extradited from Vancouver in 1976; now widely known on false evidence. In 1979 former [Canadian] Solicitor General Warren Allmand acknowledged this and formally ‘apologized’, yet he remains behind bars as one of the most well-known political prisoners of our time.
The US government, with Canadian government complicity and cooperation, is intent on repressing the last remnants of AIM. Graham’s current legal struggle reflects the political repression faced by Indigenous people who struggle against state and corporate control over Native lands and resources and reflects the ongoing reality of the ‘Indian Wars’.
==> Trailer of Documentary ‘Our Sacred History and White Man Lies’:
==> Interview with John Graham:
Vancouver Sun: Who killed Anna Mae?
COINTELPRO’s long shadow – The importance of the John Graham case:
The Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash Story:
The Case of John Graham:
Canadian Dimension: The Hauntings of Colonialism:
The Tyee: Delivering Framed John Graham
Common Ground: BC Supreme Court set to decide Graham’s extradition fate
Georgia Straight Article:
Aboriginal Title and International Law: The Occupation of BC, Iraq, the West Bank, and the Extradition Cases of Sittting Bull, Leonard Peltier, James Pitawanakwat, and John Graham by Anthony Hall, University of Lethbridge